Five things to know about Lions’ Theo Riddick who is on his way back

Running back only played 10 games in 2016 due to injury

ALLEN PARK — Theo Riddick had an uncharacteristic drop in Friday’s training camp and he was not happy about it.

Riddick missed the final three games last season with injuries that led to surgery on both of his wrists.

After he missed all of the spring practices, he’s back in action wearing a red cautionary jersey. He’s not fair game — he is not supposed to be hit.

Here are five things to know about Riddick:

— Coach Jim Caldwell is pleased with his progress. “He’s coming along well, just in terms of his cardiovascular shape. He’s in good shape. He’s moving around out there,’’ Caldwell said on Friday. “The only thing we’re not allowing him to do is have contact, even though he went to the ground one time out there. But other than that, I think he’s making good progress.”

— When asked about the statement that he’s one of the most underrated players in the NFL, Riddick has one three-word response: “Let’s play ball.”

— He’s thrilled to be back on the practice field after watching all spring while still wearing a brace on his right wrist. “It’s what you love to do, go out there and get the calls going in fast motions or slow. And just being out there working on the little things, paying attention to detail,’’ Riddick said.

— Ameer Abdullah and Riddick have not been on the field together since the second game of the 2016 season. Abdullah missed the final 14 games with a foot injury. “As long a we stay healthy we should be in good shape. We’re two talented backs and want to get the ball in our hands, we just want to do something with it,’’ Riddick said. The Lions’ running game was ranked 30th in the NFL in 2016 averaging just 81.9 yards per game.

— Riddick and Abdullah help each other off the field. “That’s my guy, everybody’s close in the room. Definitely me and Ameer, we definitely communicate. When he’s in  I can be an extra set of eyes,’’ Riddick said. “We’re always constantly learning and critiquing ourselves. With that we’re always trying to push each other even if we can get better in the smallest area.’’

Getting physical at Lions camp: Vet Marv Jones gets slammed by Jarrad Davis

Davis went after Jones in a seven-on-seven drill

ALLEN PARK — All’s fair game when the Lions are in pads in training camp.

Well, maybe not all but close to it.

One of the highlights of Friday morning’s camp was a big hit by rookie middle linebacker Jarrad Davis on veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones during seven-on-seven drills.

Matthew Stafford found Jones in a crowd, Jones caught the ball and then Davis slammed the wide receiver, the ball popped up and Jones caught it again. Davis blew him up again.

All is good though.

It’s exactly what the coaches want to see from the linebacking group.

Jones did not have an issue with being on the receiving end.

Afterward when Davis was in an interview scrum, Jones came up from behind him and playfully grabbed him around the waist as if he would tackle him to the turf.

The gesture from the veteran was a good thing.

“I really appreciate those guys,’’ Davis said. “When I got back there I let him know it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.’’

Sounds like a warning shot.

“(After) a little hit in the back on seven-on-seven that was chip from me, a nice little present. It’s all good, we’re in full pads, it’s football. You’re going to get something like that. I’m glad he’s on our squad,’’ Jones said.

Davis, who was drafted in the first round to start at middle linebacker, had another solid day. The hit on Jones was just the exclamation point.

“It’s part of the game physicality, football is a physical game if they don’t like it they don’t like it, if they like it they like it. It’s going to go either way,’’ Davis said. “I’m practicing my craft, working on me. I’m going to make sure I take care of my teammates at the end of the day, but you have moments like that to make the team better.’’

Coach Jim Caldwell had no problem with the play. It wasn’t vicious, it’s what the coaches need to see now and then during camp days when they are in full pads.

“Every practice is different, this practice was a padded practice so we went after it pretty good and there’s some practices we don’t. It was within the rules,’’ Caldwell said. “The physical nature of the game is what it is, you’ve got to be able to tackle and run. You’re going to have a collision here and there.’’

Caldwell is cautious about dropping too many kind words early in camp especially for rookies.

Still no one can deny Davis has proven his first-round value so far.

“Yeah, I think (physicality) is kind of a normal trait of most linebackers and anybody on defense period. Those are guys that are going to be very, very active in that regard,’’ Caldwell said. “He’s performing well. Like I said, nothing’s perfect. He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but he certainly works at it and he’s doing a nice job just in terms of the overall progression.”

And aggression, we might add.

Jarrad Davis so far making Bob Quinn look smart for drafting him in first round

Davis works hard, has earned respect from the veterans

Can rookie Jarrad Davis live up to the hype?

At this point it would be shocking if he didn’t. He was drafted in the first round specifically to take over at middle linebacker, the position that makes the defensive calls.

It’s a big responsibility for anyone, let alone a rookie.

And yet, coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have not hemmed and hawed about where Davis will play. Caldwell usually takes a more wait-and-see approach with first-round rookies.

It’s different with Davis.

“He’s an unusual guy because of the fact that he works extremely hard. He’s smart. He works at it. He’s dedicated and he’s still got a lot to learn,’’ Caldwell said at training camp this week. “He’s only been in this thing a matter of a few months now, but just anticipate and expect to see him to continue to grow.’’

Davis, who played at Florida, is not cocky. When he was drafted he talked about how he took it upon himself to learn the characteristics of a good leader and then developed leadership skills with the Gators.

He’s not expecting to be given anything. He’ll work hard to deserve it, thank you. It hasn’t taken long for his teammates to figure him out.

“I think he gives respect, so they give it back and I think that’s an important trait as well,’’  Caldwell said.

Pro Bowl safety Glover Quin, who has a good view of Davis in practice, has become a fan.

“I like playing with him. He’s all football. He’s very serious. He takes his job very seriously. He wants to be great. You can see it by the way he asks questions, by the way he works and the way he studies,’’ Quin said.

“He’s going to be a great addition for us. Obviously, there are a lot of things you’ve got to learn. That’s to be expected. With his size, with his speed, with his instincts, with his physicality, he’ll be able to help us in the middle. I think he’ll make a lot of plays for us. I’m excited to play alongside him, watch him grow. I’m also excited to help him in any way I can,’’ Quin added.

Davis is going to make rookie mistakes, but from watching him in training camp, all indications are that he’s a play maker and he’ll be ready to go in September. That is exactly what the Lions’ defense needs.